Freelancing in IT offers multiple benefits, including flexible work hours, choice of location, interesting assignments, diverse clients, and the ability to apply talents in several different areas.
But freelancing is also a business, and computer-savvy freelancers know what it takes to find and keep good clients, as well as how to let go of organizations that make unreasonable demands or don’t pay on time. If you’re an IT freelancer or thinking about becoming one, check out these eight secrets to long-term success.
1. Seek work-life balance
Time management is an essential skill for all IT professionals, especially freelancers. “Allocating time effectively is necessary to manage…work hours and balance work and personal life,” says Eric Jones, CEO of Couture Candy, a special occasion fashion e-commerce company. “You have to avoid over-committing yourself; always under-promise and over-deliver.
When homework is flooding in, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and fall behind on deadlines. “If you can master the art of time management, you will find that you are able to handle a larger workload while maintaining a good work-life balance,” says Jeroen van Gils, CEO of LiFi , a wireless network technology service. which uses light-emitting diodes for data transmission. “Additionally, customers will be impressed with your ability to respond to their needs quickly and efficiently, which can lead to customer loyalty.”
2. Be dedicated — and selective
All successful IT freelancers share three fundamental traits: discipline, dedication, and drive. “As a freelancer, you need to be motivated to work on new projects and have the utmost discipline to complete each project,” says Gilad Zilberman, CEO of SeatPick, a ticket search engine that sells tickets for live events. “That’s how you get the job done, and that’s how you secure customers for life.”
IT freelancers with excellent in-demand skills and carefully crafted portfolios usually have no problem finding new clients.
Still, it’s important to be realistic when looking for a job. One of the biggest mistakes IT freelancers make is getting involved in projects that are beyond their interests or abilities. “There are so many opportunities out there, so choose what you want to do and dedicate yourself 100%,” advises Zilberman.
3. Develop strong marketing skills
IT freelancers need to be able to effectively market themselves and their services. It requires creating a great portfolio, developing a marketing plan, and networking with potential clients. Other talents that freelancers should strive to acquire include skills in managing finances, clients, projects, and risks.
Selling yourself as an IT freelancer can be a challenge, but it’s essential to success. “It helps if you stand out from the competition, and the best way to do that is to show potential clients what you can offer that other freelancers can’t,” says Mladen Maksic, CEO and Founder of the agency. Play Media digital marketing company. “Getting your name out there and connecting with potential clients is key to landing a job.”
By leveraging their marketing knowledge and computer skills, freelancers can deliver high-quality services and products to their clients, Maksic notes.
4. Do what’s right for your customers — by being honest and informed
An often overlooked skill is having the knowledge, courage and ability to steer the client in the right direction. “The client wants to use the experience and proactivity of the freelancer, so it’s very important that the IT freelancer speaks their true mind when they think the client is going in the wrong direction,” says Soren Rosenmeier, CEO of Right People. Group, a company that matches clients with IT and business consultants.
Don’t jump the gun, though. Before offering crucial advice, it is important to have a full understanding of the matter at hand. “There may also be many other factors…in the organization that the IT freelancer is unaware of,” Rosenmeier notes. Therefore, before offering a suggestion, it is important to first listen to exactly what the customer wants.
If the IT freelancer is honest and upfront, the client will benefit from hiring a highly experienced expert, including information about all the experience the freelancer has gained working with many other organizations. “At the same time, the customer gets the simplicity and execution they expect from an external expert hired to do a specific job,” says Rosenmeier.
5. Be flexible — and quickly get to grips with your client’s business
IT freelancers often find themselves joining established teams. It can be a disturbing experience as well as a significant challenge.
An IT freelancer must be able to integrate quickly into the team he temporarily joins, not only from a technical point of view, but also from a commercial, operational and cultural point of view, explains Christine Kiefer, vice -Senior President at Experis/ManpowerGroup, an IT professional resources and managed services company.
The basic characteristic that separates a good IT freelancer from a great IT freelancer is the ability to quickly understand the business initiative of a project and its value to the hiring organization. “It’s a challenge when you walk into a situation without the benefit of the background, history and connections that other team members may have, but your ability to integrate seamlessly into that team increases instantly. your worth,” says Kiefer.
6. Storage Connections
It’s a common myth that a freelancer is someone who sits at home working in their pajamas, Jones says. “Freelancers need to network online and offline to develop strong relationships with fellow freelancers and current and potential clients,” he notes.
Your best friend is your network and referrals, says Kiefer. “Companies like to work with known or trustworthy people, or with organizations they already work with,” she observes.
Kiefer recommends building ongoing relationships with people and companies you already know who respect your work and know the types of work you’re looking for. “Think about the companies and environments in which you thrive – and those in which you don’t thrive – and share this information with your network, whether it’s former colleagues, recruiters or clients,” she advises.
7. Don’t neglect essential soft skills
Being a computer science freelancer means having to keep up to date with the latest technical skills. But IT professionals looking to survive for the long term as freelancers also shouldn’t lose sight of the soft skills that organizations now seek and expect, and instead should continue to train them when needed.
A ManpowerGroup job outlook survey conducted earlier this year found that 76% of tech companies struggle to find candidates with both technical and soft skills. “The top five soft skills they look for include critical analysis and thinking, creativity and originality, reasoning and problem solving, reliability and self-discipline, and resilience and adaptability. “, explains Kiefer. “Technical skills [applicants]who bring these attributes to the table, along with their technical expertise, stand out and increase their value in the job market.
The same goes for freelancers looking to score projects from those same employers.
8. Know your client’s orientation and needs
A critical mistake that many novice IT freelancers make is assuming that the transient nature of their profession reduces their need to understand and contribute to a client’s business approach, team environment, and organizational structure. .
“Often when I hear negative feedback about a freelancer, the root cause is not a deficiency in technical ability, but rather a lack of understanding of the impact of decisions, choices, methods and prioritization that the person makes towards a larger project, organization, and business initiative,” says Kiefer. “A seemingly minor overlooked item, or the priority given to completing a task, can have far-reaching impacts that affect the value and perceived value of a consultant’s work.”